Saturday, March 27, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: A Call to Catholics-Letter to Editor/Sarasota Herald Tribune

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100327/LETTERS/3271007/2061/LIVING?Title=A-call-to-Catholics

A call to Catholics
Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
"In response to the article "Doctor says pope knew of abuse":
Roman Catholics can no longer be silent about the thousands of victims throughout Europe and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy. The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the pope and the Vatican"...
Bridget Mary Meehan
Sarasota

Women's Ordination Advocates Bring Message to Vatican Embassy

Women's ordination advocates bring message to Vatican embassy
by Thomas C. Fox on Mar. 26, 2010

The Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. probably has other matters on its mind with the publication in The New York Times of articles drawing into greater question the pope's role in the handling of clergy sex abusing priests while he headed the Munich archdiocese and while he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

Nevertheless …. Read the whole article at
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/womens-ordination-advocates-bring-message-vatican-embassy

Clergy Abuse Threatens to Tarnish Pope's Legacy

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_VATICAN_POPES_CRISIS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
Mar 26, 11:58 PM EDT


Clergy abuse threatens to tarnish pope's legacy

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
Associated Press Writer


EXCERPT: A poll in Stern magazine released this week shows only 39 percent of Germany's Catholics trust the pope, down from 62 percent in late January. Some 34 percent trust the Catholic church as an institution, down from 56 percent in January.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Deaf Boys Raised Alarm on Priests Abuse" by Laurie goodstein and David Callender in the New York Times

<strong>March 26, 2010
Deaf Boys Raised Alarm on Priest’s Abuse
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DAVID CALLENDER
EXCERPTS:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/us/27wisconsin.html?hp
March 26, 2010

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

Father Murphy may have molested as many as 200 boys while he worked at the school from 1950 to 1974, according to the accounts of victims and a social worker hired by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to interview him.

Internal church correspondence unearthed in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and given to The New York Times, which made it public it this week, included a letter from the Rev. David Walsh, who served as a chaplain for the deaf in Chicago, saying that teenage students at St. John’s had told him in the late 1950s about Father Murphy’s abuse.

Father Murphy continued working in parishes and schools, with deaf people, and leading youth retreats in the Diocese of Superior for the next 24 years.


Vatican Justice? 20 percent of priests who were sexual abusers were subjected to canonical trials

Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis
by John L Allen Jr on Mar. 26, 2010
http://ncronline.org/users/john-l-allen-jr
"Ratzinger's top deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on sex abuse cases, Maltese Monsignor Charles Scicluna, recently gave an interview to an Italian Catholic paper in which he said that of the more than 3,000 cases eventually referred to Rome, only 20 percent were subjected to a full canonical trial. In some reporting, including the Thursday piece in The New York Times, this figure has been cited as evidence of Vatican "inaction."

Once again, however, those who have followed the story closely have almost exactly the opposite impression.

Back in June 2002, when the American bishops first proposed a set of new canonical norms to Rome, the heart of which was the "one strike and you're out" policy, they initially wanted to avoid canonical trials altogether. Instead, they wanted to rely on a bishop's administrative power to permanently remove a priest from ministry. That's because their experience of Roman tribunals over the years was that they were often slow, cumbersome, and the outcome was rarely certain.

Most famously, bishops and experts would point to the case of Fr. Anthony Cipolla in Pittsburgh, during the time that Donald Wuerl, now the Archbishop of Washington, was the local bishop. Wuerl had removed Cipolla from ministry in 1988 following allegations of sexual abuse. Cipolla appealed to Rome, where the Apostolic Signatura, in effect the Vatican's supreme court, ordered him reinstated. Wuerl then took the case to Rome himself, and eventually prevailed. The experience left many American bishops, however, with the impression that lengthy canonical trials were not the way to handle these cases.

When the new American norms reached Rome, they ran into opposition precisely on the grounds that everyone deserves their day in court -- another instance, in the eyes of critics, of the Vatican being more concerned about the rights of abuser priests than victims. A special commission of American bishops and senior Vatican officials brokered a compromise, in which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would sort through the cases one-by-one and decide which ones would be sent back for full trials.

The fear at the time was that the congregation would insist on trials in almost every case, thereby dragging out the administration of justice, and closure for the victims, almost indefinitely. In the end, however, only 20 percent were sent back for trials, while for the bulk of the cases, 60 percent, bishops were authorized to take immediate administrative action, because the proof was held to be overwhelming.

The fact that only 20 percent of the cases were subjected to full canonical trial has been hailed as a belated grasp in Rome of the need for swift and sure justice, and a victory for the more aggressive American approach to the crisis. It should be noted, too, that bypassing trials has been roundly criticized by some canon lawyers and Vatican officials as a betrayal of the due process safeguards in church law.

Hence to describe that 20 percent figure as a sign of "inaction" cannot help but seem, to anyone who's been paying attention, rather ironic. In truth, handling 60 percent of the cases through the stroke of a bishop's pen has, up to now, more often been cited as evidence of exaggerated and draconian action by Ratzinger and his deputies.

Obviously, none of this is to suggest that Benedict's handling of the crisis -- in Munich, at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or as pope -- is somehow exemplary. An accounting needs to be offered if this pope, and the church he leads, hopes to move forward. For that analysis to be constructive, however, as opposed to fueling polarization and confusion, it's important to keep the record straight."
[John Allen is NCR senior correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@ncronline.org.]

Bridget Mary's Response to John Allen's Article
Yes, it is important to set the record straight. But how could justice prevail if the victims and the accused were not present at these Vatican trials? What kind of justice is this kind of sham trial?
Pope Benedict has many questions to answer. The bottom line is what would Jesus have done?
The pope is called to follow the Gospel, and serve God's people as the servant to the servants of God.
Now Pope Benedict, we call on you to tell the truth to the people of God. We need answers to questions like: why were victims and the accused not present at these secretive Vatican trials? How can justice happen if the victims and accused are not present at the trials? Why were the bishops sworn to pontifical secrecy? Why were known pedophiles not defrocked? Why were women priests and our followers automatically excommunicated and pedophiles and the bishops who gave them a pass, promoted? Why were bishops like Cardinal Law, who covered up and shifted known pedophiles in the Boston area, promoted to top Vatican positions? Only answers to these and many more questions will set the record straight. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: "Addressing the Global Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal"

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11612

News Brief
Addressing the global Catholic sex abuse scandal
By Bridget Mary Meehan
26 Mar 2010
“Cry out as if you had a million voices, it is silence that kills the world,” said St Catherine of Siena (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380), a courageous reformer who lived at a time of grave scandal when three men, each claiming to be the pope, shook the church to its foundation.

Today Catholics live in a time when the institutional church has lost credibility because of the cover-up of a global sex abuse scandal which, like a rapidly spreading cancer, is destroying the moral fibre of our church.

Like St Catherine, we, the people, need to speak truth to our church leaders including our bishops and our pope. Silence is compliance.

Roman Catholics can no longer be silent about the thousands of victims throughout Europe and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy.

The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the Pope and the Vatican.

In the United States the sex abuse scandal has destroyed the lives of victims and their families, bankrupted some dioceses and cost the Church over two billion dollars. Approximately two-thirds of sitting US bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved them to new assignments. Nineteen bishops in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/).

The Vatican's record on child abuse was criticised at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on 16 March 16 2010.

Pope Benedict, the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, has been linked to the case of a German priest convicted of molesting children but allowed to continue to minister in Ratzinger’s archdiocese for more than 30 years until his recent suspension.

Later, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. The cases were handled under a strict code of pontifical secrecy.

The Vatican has handled more than 3,000 cases, according to its own report. Since Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is implicated in the handling of the cases, it is surely right that the civil authorities should investigate the alleged cover-up to assure that transparency and justice is achieved.

Catholics should call on the all-male leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those in the Vatican, to admit their failures, including the abuse of power at the center of this crisis. Catholics should call for the resignation of bishops who covered-up sex abuse. Standards of accountability must be the norm for all, including the pope and the hierarchy.

What is needed now is an independent truth commission made up of a broad representation of people of integrity, including victims of abuse and the non-ordained, to examine this global sexual abuse crisis and to chart a path forward to structural change - a change which would include women priests and married priests, with an end to mandatory celibacy.

Now more than ever our Church needs the wisdom and experience of women to re-birth a renewed community of equals empowered by the Spirit. Roman Catholic Womenpriests offer a collaborative model of an inclusive Church rooted in partnership with the people we serve, with no one excluded.

----------

(c) Bridget Mary Meehan is a spokesperson for Roman Catholic Womenpriests (http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/), and ministers herself in the southern region of the USA. She is a widely published author and has produced television programmes on prayer, spirituality, and women's issues. This feature is adapted from a syndicated article.

"The Time is Now for Restructuring the Roman Catholic Church" by Alice Iaquinta

The Time is Now for restructuring the RC Church by Alice Iaquinta
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125205874
http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/credibility-gap-pope-needs-answer-questions
What’s wrong with this picture?
Father Lombardi (NY Times article, 25 March) in discussing the handling of pedophile priests, said that “the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.”
Why then are “automatic penalties” of ex-communication imposed on women who are ordained as Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and those Catholics who support them?

The Church is saying that it is far worse for a woman to answer her call to be a priest than it is for male priests to rape the most vulnerable and to betray the trust of the faithful.

Liberation theologians and priests are censured and silenced.
Women religious are persecuted and investigated because of their independence and commitment to social justice.
People are denied the sacrament of communion for their political views.
Old, unmarried males declare what is acceptable regarding sexual reproduction. Gays and Lesbians are declared disordered.
The divorced are marginalized unless granted an annulment.
These are the positions of the pope and the hierarchy.

BUT they are not the pastoral positions of the great majority of priests today. Nor are they the positions of most Catholics.

Catholics are Christian who have Jesus Christ at the center of their faith lives, not a fallible man in the role of pope. Our faith is in God, not the pope or those who have held the reins of power in the political structure of the church. Catholics believe that the Church is the people of God, not the Vatican hierarchy.

We are the people of God. We are the Church. We cannot leave ourselves.

But we can demand an end to the medieval, dysfunctional and atavistic structures and rules that remain in the ecclesial infrastructure. We can dismantle and reconstruct our church according to the model of a discipleship of equals, not an absolute monarchy. Many faithful Catholics are working to do just that. Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Corpus, Voice of the Faithful, Call to Action, Dignity, Future Church, to name just a few. These organizations have been working tirelessly for such restructuring for decades within the church.

It is time for Catholics to demand an end to the long-outdated, dictatorial, absolutist, discriminatory ways of the church. Vatican II laid the groundwork for this reconstructing and it is time to fully implement its teachings. Sex abuse by clergy is abhorrent; all the forms of discrimination and control that exist are as well. It is time for the new springtime, called for by John XXIII.

Those of us who have been ordained in Roman Catholic Womenpriests say to dismayed, discouraged, disgusted, and dissed Roman Catholics,
"Here we are! We are ready to serve the Catholic Church, the people of God." If you are looking for an inclusive Roman Catholic faith community in your area, check out htpp://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org. We are all over the country, Canada and Europe.
Rev. Alice Iaquinta,M.Div. Roman Catholic Womenpriests - Midwest Region.
2006 Honors Graduate, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Seminary, Milwaukee, WI
Ordained August 28, 2007 in Minneapolis, MN by Bishop Patricia Fresen.

Rev. Alice M. Iaquinta, M.Div.
aliceiaquinta@hotmail.com

"The Beginning of the End" by Eileen Di Franco

The Beginning of the End

Benedict sat alone in the dark staring out of his office window overlooking the eternal city. The rising moon highlighted the dome of St. Peter’s. The last of his many trusted advisors, Msgr. Sciculuna, the Minister of Justice had just left with the latest news. The sexual abuse scandal had spread to his own country, to his own diocese where he had served as bishop. This news on top of the news from Brazil, Brazil mind you! This was not supposed to happen in Catholic Brazil! Americans are oversexed whiny babies who just like to show off and draw attention to themselves like their movie stars. The Irish and the Australians, their relatives, are not much better. This is simply too much to bear! All these people want to do was smear the church and discredit him. No good could come out of this.

Then the Irish had the nerve to criticize his letter! He had spent hours crafting a reply that outlined the church’s position. The church as the spotless bride of Christ and the pope as the vicar of St. Peter simply cannot make mistakes. Whatever happened, happened, but they were not really not the same kind of mistakes that the laity make. Clerical mistakes have a sort of eminence of degree about them that make them seem less grievous. He was doing his best within the spotless bride construct. He, Benedict, was the successor to St. Peter himself for God’s sake! Did the media that dog his every step and question his every pronouncement really think that the pope could ever say he’s sorry? It would be like God saying he’s sorry.

Benedict was an old man and he was tired. On this fine spring night as the stars twinkled in the deepening blue sky, he had no idea that when the sun rose the next day, he would be a different man with a different agenda. His head drooped and he began to doze. Rome was just getting started on its daily round of evening revelry. It would be the last nap Benedict would have for a very long time.

A tall young woman with curly black hair and bright green eyes strolled through the Roman streets, her jacket flung over her broad right shoulder. Even jaded Romans used to sizing up beautiful young women looked up from their pasta to notice her shiny green tank top. Several men followed her, trying to engage her in conversation. Something in her eyes stopped them from pursuing anything more than an admiring glance. “Quanta si bella!” The woman only smiled.

She approached St. Peter’s and walked up to the pope’s palace, opened the door and entered, unchallenged by the Swiss guards. She wandered up and down and along hallways lined with oriental rugs and ancient tapestries. As she neared the papal apartment, She almost bumped into Cardinal Levada who was running towards the pope’s apartment, paper in hand. When Levada saw the woman, one of the cardinal’s hands went to his mouth, the other to his cell phone to call the guards.

“Don’t even try,” God said evenly. “Besides, it won’t work. It’s dead.”

“Who are you? How did you get in here again?” The cardinal was ashen and his heart pounded. His right hand moved from his pocket to his chest. “Don’t worry, William, you’re not going to have a heart attack. I need you to do My work.”

“But who are you?” he asked again, inching backward down the hall towards the panic buzzer. God looked at him calmly and put Her hand on his shoulder, pressing him up against a tapestry. William’s shoulder felt warm where the woman touched him.

“Do not fear, William,” God replied calmly. “I shall be who I shall be.” William’s eyes registered Her reply. “What they told you in seminary is an incorrect translation. The Hebrew is quite clear. I am who I am, but more importantly, I shall be who I shall be. One can never pin God down in silly human words. I am here this way because I choose to be.

The hand changed to a gentle poke in the chest. “By the way, William, I don’t appreciate your white male representations of Me, printed or pictorial. It’s so boring. It’s all wrong, as you can see. Causes people to assume all sorts of silly things, like you look like Me.” God threw her head back and laughed, a huge belly laugh that William thought would send the Swiss guards running. ”Please change all of your prayers to include female language – immediately- tomorrow if possible In fact, you will make an announcement tomorrow, even if you need to stay up all night. Hmmm.” Her eyes sparkled as She continued to poke him. “William, I don’t think you’ll be sleeping much tonight anyway.”

William fainted dead away. He woke up to find himself in the pope’s apartment lying on the sofa. Benedict nodded towards God. “She carried you in. Like a baby.”

God spoke. “You know, I’m not all that into titles like you and your guys, but I’m not “she” like the cat’s mother. Just in case you stubbornly remain unclear, I am the Lord your God, Creator of heaven and earth. God stood up to her full height, considerable in the hallway, William thought, but unimaginable in the pope’s apartment. He thought he saw Her Head in the spring heavens crowned with stars and simultaneously but unbelievably, the world spinning at Her feet. She also appeared to be very pregnant.

But then, he had just awakened by a faint. There She was, in fact, adjusting the strap of her emerald tank top. She placed her jacket on the back of the pope’s armchair and sat down, then rearranged the chain around her neck. God raised Her eyes to meet Benedict’s. “No, I don’t wear a crucifix. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe in that kind of sacrifice. Then I would be a monster, not the Lord God almighty.”

“But there are, Joseph,” She continued, reaching for her green leather computer case, “Other sacrifices, like the one I made. Like the ones made in the pages of scripture or in the records of martyrs. Being a Christian means more than just admiring God and coming home to the fire in your hearth and a good bottle of red wine thinking how good it is that you and God are on the same page. It means speaking the truth like my son Oscar Romero, whose canonization you will announce tomorrow.” God said brightly. “I am just full of good ideas tonight.”

Benedict blinked. Looking at them expectantly, She said, “ If you think announcing the end of gender specific language and canonizing Oscar tomorrow will be difficult, there is more, my sons.” She ran Her fingers through her curly black hair and shrugged her shoulders. “I shall require much of the two of you, probably your lives, most definitely, your professional life. That’s what you signed up to do, in case you forgot. You agreed to do My will, whatever the cost.”

The two men sank lower and lower into the plush chairs. They never thought signing on meant stuff like this. No wife and no kids maybe but not a girl God. God’s tone had a sharp edge to it now. “I told you this Joseph last year. Honestly, I don’t know what you’ve been thinking and doing for 365 days. You have seen God and dismissed Her. You knew I would return. Don’t you pray fervently for My coming all the time? Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love? Did you really mean it? Because I’m here!” She practically yelled. God’s eyes flashed. Joseph and William lowered their eyes. Their ears tingled.

God frowned. “I see. I know what you’re thinking. I had inspired My child Fyodor Dostoevsky to write “The Grand Inquisitor.” Obviously you did not read it or you ignored that message like you ignore Me, just like your predecessors. You know, good literature changes behavior more readily than anything coming from this godforsaken building.” God sniffed in disgust and took Her computer out of its carrying case. “You, like all the rest, would rather I just go away so you can do things your way. Usually when people get a visit from God, they at least try to do what She says. Mary did what she was told. Isn’t she your role model? I know you guys get off on that purity thing. But Mary risked her life for Me.”

Joseph and William hung their heads, not even bothering to exchange glances.

“So the question is, “ She said staring at them intently, “Are you ready to do My will?’ God sat back in Her chair, swinging Her crossed leg, waiting expectantly for their answers. “Please look at Me when I talk to you, my sons.”

The second William Levada, the head of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine looked into God’s green eyes, the words to the announcement that he was supposed to make in the morning popped into his head. He began to laugh uncontrollably. “We have met the Lord and She is not one of us as we believed for so long.” He got down on his knees and bowed his head to the floor. “My Lord and my God, I will do what you want of me. Forgive me for I have grievously sinned. And I know what to say tomorrow at your behest.”

“That’s good, William. That’s one less issue we will be addressing tonight and I appreciate your vote of loyalty and the acknowledgement of My identity. God smiled for the very first time.”

She turned to Joseph. “ Now for the rest. I’m afraid, Joseph that I have very bad news for you. A story will run in the New York Times tomorrow morning. I’m afraid it’s very bad, Joseph, very bad. The absolute worst you can imagine. The article will prove to the multitudes that you have treated the wounds of my children carelessly. You failed to act when my innocent babies were being harmed.”

God began to sniff and large tears ran down her cheeks. She pulled out tissues from Her purse and dabbed at Her eyes. Leaning towards the pontiff She demanded rather harshly for God, “ What were you ever thinking?” Her voice was loud, so loud, in fact, that it seemed to echo off the dome of St. Peter’s.

“Joseph, you do not need to protect me, the Creator of heaven and earth. I am beyond the protection of any human being. But you needed to protect my little ones, my dear sweet ones who could not protect themselves. You have committed the greatest sin of all, the sin against the Holy Spirit and I’m afraid that I will need to have your job.”

Joseph’s jaw dropped. William began to cry. He had begun to believe that there might just be a little period of adjustment, a little surgery here and there, some snipping at the top that did not include him, but nothing substantial because surely God knew that they were all doing their jobs.

“I need your job as well, William, in spite of your acknowledgement of My divinity. You are safe here in Rome because your brother saved you from the law in California just as he saved Bernard Law in Boston. In fact,” She said leaning forward, “I will have the jobs of all of these bishops. You were to protect the most vulnerable, not grown men who know the difference between right and wrong.” God handed a long list of names to Joseph.

“But, my Lord,” Joseph responded after reading a very long list, “This is just about every single bishop in the world. This will be the end of the church.”

“If you all don’t resign, it is the end of the church. You have spent your time and your money protecting the wrong people.”

Joseph sighed and put his head in his hand.

“”If you think, Joseph,” God said gently, “Being one of a handful of popes to resign, try scourging, nakedness, and crucifixion.” God began to cry again, her shoulders shaking with great sobs. I don’t know what more I could have done to make you see that when you do these things to your sisters and brothers, you do them to Me. I am one with those who suffer. How could you have forgotten?”

A knock at the door interrupted God’s tears. “ Your Holiness, Your Holiness,” a voice called insistently. “I’m sorry for the late hour but I just learned some terrible news.” Benedict got up and walked towards the door. He could not longer bear to look into the eyes of God.

“Ah, you are awake, Your Holiness,” Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, fairly burst through the door.

“I’m not your holiness,” Joseph answered and gestured towards God. “God is.”

Tarcisio looked from William and back to Joseph and then bustled into the room, grabbed God’s coat from the back of God’s chair and attempted to shoo Her out of the room.

“This is unseemly, Your Holiness, unseemly, to have a half naked woman in your apartment. What will the Swiss guards say? What will people think? I have some disturbing news and you are sitting here with this, this this..” His mouth could not bear to say the word, “Woman.”

As Tarcisio grabbed God’s hand roughly, attempting to yank her out of her seat, he saw the deep wound in Her palm. “I’m so sorry,” he gasped, “Did I do that?”

“You all did,” She replied, gently extricating Her hand from his.

God began to type busily on Her computer as the bemused Tarsicio stood with his mouth open looking at God’s wounded hands fly across the keyboard. “Don’t be surprised by the technology,” She said. “All of this is real, not a vision and I don’t want you to awaken tomorrow and think I’m a dream you can ignore again. Sit down, my son.” She nodded to Tarcisio. “We have a lot of work to do.”

She looked at the three men. “This is the plan. We will begin the day with two announcements. The first is the fact that gender- neutral language in worship will begin tomorrow, on the Feast of the Annunciation. The second is the planned canonization of Oscar Romero on the Feast of Pentecost. That will set the stage for what will follow.”

“You, Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XIV, will announce your resignation tomorrow, effective on Pentecost. You will also announce the resignations of all the bishops whose names appear on that list. All of you are going to go to monasteries and spend the rest of your lives in prayer and repentance. You or one of the members of your cabinet can call them tonight. I am sure they won’t mind being awakened in the middle of the night to hear this news,” She added dryly.

God continued. “You will invite any member of the church who has been abused by a priest to St. Peter’s in Rome on Holy Thursday. You will invite the bishops whose names are on that list as well. Forget about the clergy in Rome. There will not be room for them. During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, you will wash the feet of every single survivor who presents him or herself. You will kiss their feet and beg their forgiveness. You will beat your breast and say to them, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” Your bishops will do the same. It is up to the survivors to absolve you of your sin.”

In the days between tomorrow and Pentecost, you will contact Professor Leonard Swidler in Philadelphia, a former buddy of yours, I think, to come to Rome to plan what will happen when the walls come tumbling down.
To be continued….
Eileen DiFranco
The Feast of the Annunciation, 2010

Catholics Need to Save the Church, Hold Bishops and Pope Benedict Accountable in Sexual Abuse Crisis


"Catholics Need to Save Church:Hold Bishops and Pope Accountable in Sexual Abuse Crisis"
By Bridget Mary Meehan

“Cry out as if you had a million voices, it is silence that kills the world,” said St. Catherine of Siena, a courageous reformer who lived from 1347-1380, at a time of grave scandal when three men, each claiming to be the pope, shook the church to its foundation. Today Catholics live in a time when the institutional church has lost credibility because of the cover-up of a global sex abuse scandal that, like a rapidly spreading cancer, is destroying the moral fiber of our church. Like St. Catherine, we, the people, need to speak truth to our church leaders including our bishops and our pope. Silence is compliance. It was silence on the part of many good people that allowed world-wide atrocities such as the Holocaust and the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of women and children in tribal warfare in Africa to continue without world intervention.
Roman Catholics can no longer be silent about the thousands of victims throughout Europe and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy. The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the Pope and the Vatican. In the U.S. the sex abuse scandal has destroyed the lives of victims and their families, bankrupted some dioceses and cost the Church over two billion dollars. Approximately two-thirds of sitting U.S. bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved them to new assignments. Nineteen bishops in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm#enabling_bishops
The Vatican's record on child abuse was criticized at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on March 16, 2010.
Pope Benedict, the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, has been linked to the case of a German priest convicted of molesting children but allowed to continue to minister in Ratzinger’s archdiocese for more than 30 years until his recent suspension. Later, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. The cases were handled under a strict code of pontifical secrecy.conduct in Munich, but also, based also as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A March 25 New York Times story, reported that the Vatican had failed to take action against that Rev. Lawrence Murphy, a priest, who had worked at St. John's School for the deaf outside of Milwaukee. Fr. Murphy was accused of molesting as many as 200 deaf children from 1950 to 1974. Correspondence obtained by the New York Times showed requests for the defrocking of the priest, was sent by U.S. bishops to Ratzinger, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, and to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is the Vatican secretary of state. No disciplinary action was taken by the Vatican against Murphy.
The Vatican has handled more than 3,000 cases, according to its own report. Since Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is implicated in the handling of the cases, civil authorities should investigate the alleged cover-up to assure that transparency and justice is achieved.
Catholics should call on the all-male leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those in the Vatican, to admit their failures, including the abuse of power at the center of this crisis. Catholics should call for the resignation of bishops who covered-up sexual abuse. Catholics should call for answers from the Pope on questions involving his management of the sexual abuse cases. Standards of accountability must be the norm for all, including the pope and hierarchy.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests have called for an independent truth commission made up of a broad representation of people of integrity, including victims of abuse and the non-ordained, to examine this global sexual abuse crisis and to chart a path forward to structural change - a change which would include women priests and married priests with an end to mandatory celibacy. Now more than ever our Church needs the wisdom and experience of women to re-birth a renewed community of equals empowered by the Spirit. Roman Catholic Womenpriests offer a collaborative model of an inclusive Church rooted in partnership with the people we serve, with no one excluded.
(Bridget Mary Meehan is a Roman Catholic Womanbishop serving the southern region of the U.S. She is author of 18 books and has produced television programs on prayer, spirituality, and women's issues.)

National Catholic Reporter:Credibility Gap: Pope Needs to Answer Questions

Credibility gap: Pope needs to answer questions
We now face the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history
Mar. 26, 2010
An NCR Editorial

http://ncronline.org/

"The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role -- as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) -- in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.
We urge this not primarily as journalists seeking a story, but as Catholics who appreciate that extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response. Nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is engulfing the worldwide church." It is that serious.

A Letter to the Irish Bishops and Irish Independent in Response to Pope's Letter to Irish People and Sex Abuse Scandal

Dear Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Martin and every other Catholic Bishop of Ireland:
I write to you, as a true believer and son of Donegal Catholic parents, with a heavy heart on this day of infamy for all people of good will worldwide. I have just read carefully the pope's long overdue Letter to the Irish Church. I have little doubt that at least some of you were consulted at length in its preparation. The pope's Letter is both materially misleading by omission and drastically deficient is specific actions. The misleading aspects include the attempt to recast the serious mismanagement and even in some cases gross negligence of the pope and you bishops into merely a spirtual shortcoming--- a subtle attempt to change the subject. This is a typical "mystical smokescreen" he employs that we by now have gotten used to piercing through. The deficiencies include the shocking failure to remove those Irish bishops , including Martin Drennan, Eamon Walsh, Raymond Field and Cardinal Sean Brady, who by overwhelming evidence have shown clearly they cannot any longer be relied upon to safeguard the faithful, especially defenseless children, and even though several of them had recognized their own serious pastoral shortcomings and had already tendered their resignations! The absolutely clear message from the pope in the Letter here is that if you are in the bishops' clerical club, you will never be held accountable ---- no matter how many thousands of innocent victims suffer for their entire lives for your actions or inactions. This is not just another insult to the many abused victims. It clearly means that all present and future Irish children still remain at great risk of sexual abuse,notwithstanding many paper promises and smooth speeches of the bishops . This is hardly much different than the approach of absolutest medieval kings; clearly inappropriate at the present time, don't you think. For the thousandth time, and the last time, the pope and you bishops have let your addiction to power (---"-Let us bishops once again stick together and preserve at all costs one more time our powerful and comfortable positions!"---) control your actions. How stupid does the pope and you think Catholics really are? Very, very stupid, it appears from the Letter. We will have to see about that. The pope still writes with the mindset of the Sun KIng, King Louis XIV, as if the French Revolution never really happened.-------" L'Eglise; c'est moi"! May God forgive him. -------------------------In the name of Jesus Christ and the true Gospel message inscribed in each of your hearts, as well as a believing grandfather who wants his grandchildren to be able to approach our God without risk of sexual abuse, I hereby challenge each of you, on behalf of all people of good faith and all faiths, to sign, publish and act upon by May 23, Pentecost Sunday (64 days from now) the Bishop's Call for a Council set forth below. If any Irish bishop fails to do so by Pentecost, I will, with the support I am confident of countless similarly disgusted Catholics who are also poised to join with me to clean out the temple, promptly thereafter initiate, with all media resources available, a campaign calling for a complete contribution strike in that bishop's diocese. Catholics will be asked to apply Christian love, "tough love", and to stop enabling bishops in their power addiction. Catholics in such diocese will be urged to do their primary duty to protect defenseless children and to cease and accumulate contributions until that bishop signs and acts upon the Call. Unfortunately, once Catholics stop contributing , they may (as I am sure you well know) never resume contributing; no matter what the bishop subsequently decides to do. Hence, you bishops would be well advised to give this your prompt and full attention. You bishops would also be well advised to consult with your brother bishops in the over half dozen dioceses in the United States that have gone bankrupt to get a better idea of how difficult it is to run a diocese that is in an insolvency proceeding. From this believer's viewpoint, better to start over with a new diocese than to continue with a false one. --------------------------------- I spent 16 years in Catholic schools and each of my children went to Catholic schools. I was a college classmate of the pope's long time principal assistant, Archbishop Augustine DiNoia O.P., now a senior Roman Curia official. I love my Church, but will no longer without a full struggle let this pope or even you hijack it so that you can preserve your powerful and comfortable positions. I learned at the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Business School , as well as over thirty years at the international Wall Street law firms of Sullivan & Cromwell and Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, how the powerful can always be expected to attempt to hold on to their power tenaciously by almost any means. I also learned how to challenge that power successfully and look forward at this point to the struggle on behalf of defenseless children and the many thousands of clerical child abuse victims who once again have been disillusioned by this very inadequate Letter. In the interests of trying to address this issue with you quietly, I had earlier informed Archbishop Martin of Dublin in detail of my foregoing intentions, but in the typically royal fashion of Irish bishops, I never even received an acknowledgement. Please note that this is the Bishop's Call for a Council:>>>>>>>>>> {To be signed on or before May 23, Pentecost Sunday, by each of the 24 head Irish Bishops and published on the bishops' Website, catholicbishops.ie}: ------- I, {insert the bishop's name and diocese} do solemnly confirm, so help me God, that (1) {Concerning Effecting Church Structural Reform}: I will forthwith call for a new ecumenical council ("Council") to be held in Rome before December 31 of this year to take all necessary action (including the related revision of the Code of Canon Law) to return the Church's structure to the consensual structure that existed among the apostles and their followers and successors for the Church's first 300 years, including the direct election and removal by the laity of bishops (including the bishop of Rome) and parish pastors , and the limitation of 10 years on holding a bishop's or pastor's specific office by any person in their lifetime; (2) {Concerning Conducting a Human Sexuality Policy Review}: I will, to the best of my ability and in good faith, take all action necessary to cause the Council to review and revise, wherever it is determined to be called for and permitted by the Gospel as authentically interpreted and without deference to any inauthentic interventions of the pope or the Roman Curia, all of the Church's current policies on human sexuality and gender matters, including celibacy, birth control, homosexuality and the full participation of women in ministry, and to include in the process of making the related review and revisions, the active and open participation of lay male and female experts in a similar manner to their full participation in the so-called Birth Control Commission during the 1960's; and (3) {Concerning Future Papal Support For the Council}:----I will not support any future candidate for pope who does not first commit in a public writing to abide fully and faithfully by all of the decrees and decisions of the Council. Signed on or before May 23, 2010 by { Signature of bishop and name of diocese goes here}. --------------------------------------------------------------------- In evaluating the above Call, I respectfully ask each of you bishops to consider the following: (1) (Concerning Effecting Church Structural Reform). The Church in its first 300 years had mainly a consensual structure. Disputes were resolved mostly by dialogue. The Church flourished. By 300 A.D. over five hundred Christian communities existed, notwithstanding communication and travel difficulties and periodic persecutions. Attracted by the Church's organizational potential and other factors, the Roman emperors in the fourth century pressured Church leaders to become handcuffed to secular political power. Some papal opportunists soon saw the material and other advantages of political power; and for 1,500 years the Church has operated in a coercive hierarchical structure. Many in the hierarchy lived lavishly, often with illicit sexual relationships. Disputes were decided by force, sometimes fatally with a burning at the stake. In 1870, the pope lost his political power over the major part of Italy he had ruled for many centuries, breaking the handcuffs joining the spiritual to secular power. In a desperate stab at retaining some "mystical" power, Pius XI in 1869 created "infallibility". By 1980, the "Wizard of Oz" curtain had been opened on infallibility. Independent theologians and Brian Tierney, the U. S.'s foremost medieval historian, a layman at Cornell University, have shown that infallibility was created against the pope initially by a strange Franciscan in the High Middle Ages. Since 1870, there has been absolutely no doctrinal, theological or political reason that the Church cannot return promptly to its original consensual structure. Of course, that would require that the Church hierarchy give up some power and perhaps some comforts, which seems clearly to be the reason there has been no really meaningful structural reform in the Church during the 140 year period since the pope lost all political power in Italy. (2) Concerning Conducting a Human Sexuality Review: Current history and science and everyone's personal experience tells us how powerful and persistent the forces of human sexuality are. We have learned a great deal since Augustine laid a lot of his perceived negativity at Eve's doorstep. At Vatican II many bishops wanted to evaluate and debate human sexuality issues, including celibacy and birth control, only to be thwarted by a determined Roman Curia, led by the well-intentioned but clearly misguided Cardinal Ottaviani, with the support of similarly misguided and conflicted popes. It is time to revisit these and all related issues openly and honestly before millions of more Catholics feel compelled to leave the Church in frustration and desperation. ---------------------------------------------------------When I started to get involved in the clerical child abuse issue and determined that the bishops would never negotiate unless financial pressure was applied, I consulted an American who had been involved intensely for several decades in the struggle on behalf of defenseless victims of clerical child abuse. He had also observed the American bishops up close over many years. He described the American hierarchy to me as being not only obstinate, but also vicious and unable to tolerate any opposition. He added that he found the current class of American bishops generally to be intellectually dull, very ambitious, unaware of the meaning of Vatican II, highly clerical, anti-laity, and obsessed with their own power. So far I have seen little to indicate his description of American bishops to be far off the mark. I am hoping that this description does not fit the Irish bishops and think I will have a very good idea by Pentecost Sunday. When biblical Lot left the sinful city of Sodom he could only find four righteous people in the entire city. I am hoping that in all of Ireland I can find at least as many among the bishops as Lot found at Sodom.----------------- In conclusion, I would like to share some observations in light of my professional experience. The resistance you are currently facing from the Irish people is only going to increase significantly in the coming years. The Irish politicians will soon abandon you (ask Cardinal Brady about his politician "friends"). For his part, if Cardinal Brady does not do the honorable thing and resign, he will never again be taken seriously by his fellow bishops or most of the Irish faithful. His credibility was permanently destroyed by his decision in 1975 to put his ambitions ahead of the welfare of minors and his subsequent efforts over 35 years to hide his misguided act, even from his so-called brother bishops. He will have to live with the guilt of the many who were subsequently abused because he lacked the Christian courage to follow his conscience. Who will trust him hereafter? To be sure most of you will be spending a great deal of time and money on lawyers, who have little financial incentive to tell how to bring a real end to this. There is a way. Sign the Call for the Council and start leading again, rather than being used as papal pawns and lawyers' lunch tickets. --------------------------Like it or not, your kites are tied to the Vatican's inept public relations team. The senior spokesman thinks if he says five times every day the pope had clean hands in Munich, eventually he will be believed. Just the opposite. He also appears to believe that if he and the pope just make believe that the pope was not in constant contact with his close brother, Georg, during the 30 years Georg was choirmaster at Regensberg and numerous choirboys were seriously abused, then there will never be a need for the pope to tell the world what he knew and when he knew it about the many choir boy horror stories. This is very wishful thinking by the person the pope principally relies on to communicate with the media. As you read this, numerous reporters are combing through Munich, Regensburg and all of Bavaria to be followed soon surely by the German government investigators and countless plaintiffs' lawyers. The same pattern is occurring in many other countries. -----------------------------The pope is 82 years old and understandably looks very weary these days. In 1968 he left Tubingen to be near his brother, Georg, and his now infamous choir boys, reportedly because he couldn't at 40 years old take the stress of the student rebels. He hasn't yet seen what serious stress really is, but if he stays in Rome, he surely will. Yesterday, the same day he signed your Letter, he gave a talk that focused on Aquinas to a significant extent. Of all people, Aquinas. I studied Aquinas for years, still do and appreciate his profundity on many issues. But at a time when human sexuality in the Church is a burning issue; how could he gratuitously raise Aquinas, whose views on sex and women at times makes Augustine seem like a sexual liberal. For instance, see ST, Q 98, where Aquinas states: " We are told woman was made to help man...But she was not fitted to help man, except in generation, because another man would have proven more effective at anything else." Really!! Time to put Aquinas on ice for awhile! Of course, Aquinas was a man of the 13th century, to be sure, but is he the person the pope should be calling upon at this critical juncture? You do what you want; and I am sure you will, but if it were me, I would be extremely anxious if my fate were dependent on the public relations skills, or lack thereof, of a Curia that appears to be stuck in a medieval timewarp.-------------------------------- As I told Archbishop Martin, I expect you will follow your conscience and I will do likewise. I will pray for each of you to receive the wisdom and grace to do the right thing for Christ, the Church, the Irish people and yourselves and ask that each of you pray for my family and me. I will endeavor to send to each bishop's dedicated e-mail address as soon as practicable a copy of this e-mail. In the interest of transparency, I will also be sending a copy forthwith to every worldwide media outlet for which I am able to locate a reliable e-mail address. Finally, so that you do not think I have a bias against Irish bishops , I am also communicating with the German and American media. Moreover, I am presently researching the most effective way to challenge and invalidate the German Concordat. As you may know, this Concordat was entered into in 1933 by Hitler and Pope Pius XII when Hitler eagerly wanted at least the appearance of support from the German Catholic hierarchy. It has been a considerable source of funding for the German bishops, and indirectly the Vatican, and appears to have been a source of funds applied to fund the cover-up of clerical child abuse. I will also be moving on soon to Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Brazil, Australia, the United States, etc. The Church is truly Catholic, i.e., universal; it is everywhere. Sadly, clerical child abuse also appears to be Catholic and worldwide. And instead of dealing with it comprehensively once and for all at an ecumenical council, the pope and the bishops apparently prefer to standby and watch the Church be bled to death by endless claims and limitless legal expenses. I am happy at least that my blessed Donegal parents did not live to witness the disgraceful demise of the Church they so dearly loved.
Best regards, Jerry Slevin

Dear { Irish Independent Journalist } :
I have read on the Web the articles on clerical child abuse from the Irish Independent. I am an Irish/American in New York, with 16 years of Catholic education (nuns, Christian Brothers, and Dominicans) before entering and then graduating from Harvard Law School in 1968 (the year {my famous Irish classmate} received her LL.M degree). As a law student, I also met {another Irish schoolmate}, formerly of McCann Fitzgerald of Dublin, who was also at Harvard then, and have since had an occasion to work with him professionally.------- I practiced with international Wall Street law firms for over 30 years mainly representing major multinational corporations, although in a few instances my legal work indirectly involved matters with religious organizations, including the Catholic Church. The Church was never my client and I am not presently involved in legal matters directly or indirectly involving the Church.-------------- My blessed parents, both long deceased, were both born and raised as Catholics in Donegal, emigrated around 1930 to NY, met here, married and did what so many Irish Catholics did back then--they had nine children. Birth control was, of course, a "sin"- in this case an acceptable prohibition to me since I was the ninth child! I grew up in a 1930 "Donegal Catholic" environment--the daily rosary, excessive deference to clerics, etc., but obviously evolved in a 'Yank" culture. My parents' siblings remained in Ireland , and I found out from {my Irish law schoolmate} that as a teenager in Donegal he played rugby against my cousin. My cousin subsequently taught educational philosophy for years a U.K. university. I have four children who went to Catholic schools and now have several grandchildren. --------------I mention all of the above to give you some context for my subsequent analysis. My analysis is based mainly on my extensive legal experience, especially my having been involved in many negotiations with entrenched and powerful interests trying to preserve their power and wealth at almost any cost. My analysis is intended to cut through the harmful hierarchy's "mystical smokescreens" that are intended to distract attention from what is really fundamental and important. The blood of many Irishmen, your ancestors and mine, has been shed to build this Church. They didn't give their lives to provide a place for our children to be abused by clerics we trusted, while we are out working hard so that we can then contribute to fund their cover-up expenses and the hierarchy's generous lifestyles.---------- Most importantly, children must be fully protected. That is the bottom line. Incredibly, at present, children are still at risk of future sexual abuse by predators disguised as "people of God". Too many of us have so far failed our children miserably, even if in varying degrees (most of us, not just clerics, politicians and administrators, etc.) and we must now act with defenseless children's future welfare as our paramount, if not sole, interest. No longer can we let single men, whether well intentioned or not, write the rules and then apply them, without being accountable. In my view, there is only one way consistent with the Church's teachings to do this, but Catholics must wake up for the sake of all children and return their Church to its original apostolic and consensual structure with a clergy that is fully accountable. I am confident it can be done, if the Irish just show some of the courage they have shown throughout their history---the courage that makes me proud to call myself an Irishman, even if I lack my parents' wonderful brogues. Ireland saved the Church before, during the earlier "Dark Ages"; it is now called upon again to save it in the modern "Dark Ages".------------------I love my Church, but I have been extremely troubled by clerical abuse for some time. While it has been rampant in the US as well as Ireland, the disclosures in Ireland have finally gotten me recently to begin to get involved and to think more deeply about how best to deal with it. I was moved to contact you by the latest clerical offense that occurred today, Ash Wednesday, in Rome, namely, the Pope's attempt to shift the focus again by recasting the crimes of abuse and their cover-up as just "sins" and a "failure of faith"-- thereby subtly shifting the focus to the "spiritual" realm where the Church "reigns supreme". It is obvious to me as an experienced attorney that the steps the Church is taking are driven mainly by defensive legal strategy considerations, rather than primarily by policies aimed at protecting defenseless children or at showing long overdue compassion for present victims. Joseph Ratzinger, the current pope, served briefly in the military at the end of the Second World War but at a very critical time in his youth. He saw then up close raw power in operation. I personally believe Joseph Ratzinger understands fully how to use power and how to maintain it by all available means. I respect him, but I will not worship him! I have little hope that his forthcomimg "pastoral letter" will make much difference.-----------------In very general, but substantially correct terms: During its early centuries the Church had mainly a consensual leadership structure. Leaders were chosen by the faithful and supported by voluntary contributions. Disputes were resolved by dialogue. The Church flourished. In the 4th century Roman imperial pressures from Constantine and his successors, along with some papal opportunism, led to a handcuffing of the Church to secular power. Church leadership thereafter became hierarchical and self-perpetuating. Church support became obligatory and disputes were settled by coercive power, some times fatally.---------In 1870, the handcuffs were removed when the Vatican lost its remaining secular power in Italy. Since 1870 there has been absolutely no reason, political, theological or otherwise, preventing a return by the Church to its original consensual structure with parish priests, bishops and even the Pope being selected (and removed, where appropriate) by the faithful . The hierarchy, having for 1,500 years enjoyed the generous benefits of power, including in some cases lavish lifestyles and illicit sexual relationships, not surprisingly wants to hold on to power. In a desperate attempt to retain some power, Pius IX in 1869 created "infallibility", but this by 1980 was shown to have no legitimate historical basis by prominent theologians and by Brian Tierney, the US's foremost medieval historian, a layman at Cornell University. The Vatican also in 1929 made a dark deal to give Mussolini desparately needed Vatican recognition in exchange for the unprecedented Italian diplomatic agreement to treat the Catholic religion as a sovereign state, i.e., Vatican City. This is the sole legal, but very weak, basis for the Apostolic Nuncio being able outrageously to snub his nose at the Irish government--which the Irish government appears sheepishly to tolerate for inexplicable reasons. This should be changed also. -------------So what can be done? You can only either dialogue or negotiate. Dialogue, however, won't work here since it requires two parties who recognize each other in good faith as equal parties. The hierarchy does not, and will not, recognize the faithful as an equal as proven by its demonstrated refusal on innumerable occasions to take the faithful and their representatives seriously. Negotiation could work, however, but it requires that the faithful have adequate bargaining power to be taken seriously by the hierarchy. The only real power the faithful have is their purse. While the hierarchy has significant illiquid wealth (e.g., real estate, art,etc.), it needs, in order to avoid total insolvency, the steady cash contributions from the faithful, including especially prominent large contributors apparently often seeking prestige and favors from the hierarchy. All of these contributions are needed, especially in this bad economy and with the hierarchy's ever increasing scandal costs. I am assuming that, given Ireland's very serious fiscal crisis, the Irish government will not seriously consider again bailing out the hierarchy by subsiding with Irish taxpayer's funds the hierarchy's costs of past child abuse and their related coverups.----------- Publicity alone won't be enough. The tone-deaf hierarchy has shown repeatedly that they will bear the publicity damage rather than give up any power. The hierarchy seems to believe it can remain autocratic and and still get enough cash from docile, sincere, but insufficiently informed, Catholics to maintain their generous lifestyles, while also maintaining future minimum clerical staffing quotas by enticing, with considerable Church financial support, clerical prospects from the impoverished countries of Africa and Asia, etc. Foreign clergy are required since, understandably, few young people in Europe and North America have shown in recent years much interest in the clerical life, and, without major Church reforms, are unlikely to show much interest in the future.-------- Hence, I think the only way to get change and protect our children is to withhold and accumulate all future contibutions until convincing Church reform is really initiated. This contribution "strike" is very simple. Any Catholic in favor of reform just stops contributing (except for human services, education, etc.) and can resume contributions at will. Catholics who are satisfied with the present situation in the Church and not sufficiently concerned about protecting innocent children from future sexual abuse, could, of course, just continue contributing. All Catholics could continue receiving sacraments, etc. Its like a protest rent strike, which Irish patriots in earlier times used with some success against oppressive landlords. Sooner or later, a few bishops, perhaps including Archbishop Martin, then a few more, etc., will begin to negotiate. The Irish bishops would also gain some leverage with the Vatican since the Vatican would need to accomodate the financial pressure on the Irish Church. The contribution stike is a form of Christian love, "tough love", to cure those in the hierarchy addicted to power of their addiction and, most importantly, to protect defenseless children. I personally believe all Catholics have a clear moral obligation to protect children that far supercedes any duty they may have to preserve the present medieval structure in the Church. Ironically, it appears that well intentioned reform groups may, indirectly and unintentionally, be helping to some extent the harmful hierarchy's cause by providing a setting for disgruntled Catholics to vent their spleen, while not diminishing materially their cash contributions to the Church. As best I can tell, few in the hierarchy appear to have shown any real concern for disgruntled Catholics, so long as these Catholics continue making their cash contributions. People of Ireland, please wake up from your medieval dream and take back your Church!! Feel free to circulate or publish this--either completely or fairly selected portions. Please remove, however, the references to {deleted names} since I have not in the limited time available discussed this e-mail with them and in fairness do not want to ascribe my words to them. I have mentioned them only for puposes of your evaluating my background. Thank you.
Jerry Slevin

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Irish Campaign for Vatican III/Article by John Cooney

"Cul de sac Catholicism's over, bring on Vatican III"

( 3/24/10) Western People newspaper, one of Ireland's major regional newspapers (Web address--WesternPeople.ie)

In this article, John Cooney, the principal religion reporter at the Irish Independent , Ireland's largest newspaper, and one of Ireland's foremost reporters on religious matters for over 30 years, reports on the current campaign presently underway to get the Irish Bishops to call for by May 23 (Pentecost Sunday) a new Vatican III ecumenical council to be held later this year to deal with, among other things, the worldwide child abuse crisis that is literally threatening the continued existence of the Catholic Church in its current form.
Alternatively, if the Irish Bishops fail by May 23 to call for Vatican III, the news article reports that the campaign is calling for all Catholics in Ireland to cease making, and to accumulate, all future contributions to the Catholic Church until the Irish Bishops call for Vatican III. Similar "contribution strike" campaigns are in their initial stages in many other countries, including Germany, and are expected to have serious impact on the worldwide bishops' available funds over the coming months.

Is God laughing or crying?: Great cartoons on the state of the Roman Catholic Church/ John Chuchman

http://godlaughingorcrying.blogspot.com/

Anniversary of Murder of Archbishop Romero: Witness for Justice

And then there were the Chileans, who had also known years of suffering and injustice in their own country. When we asked them if they were hopeful, we got the enthusiastic "Of course!!" response... "We don't have to see the end, we just have to be part of doing justice, jumping in the river of humanity of which we are all part. ' Sonia, our catechist and bible expert, smiled as she said, "This is how we talk about it. We're each like little ants, working on something bigger together, but each just carrying a little crumb. We can all do that." They were all very clear they don't look for or wait for the "leaders" for "leadership." "We are the Church."
from Justice Reflections -Romero Lives by Peggy O'Grady , from the MSJC website (Marianist Social Justice Collaborative)

"Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys" by Laurie Goodstein, Article in New York Times

Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html"Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pope Accepts Irish Bishop's Resignation in Abuse Scandal

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25ireland.html?hp
March 24, 2010
Pope Accepts Irish Bishop’s Resignation in Abuse Scandal
By RACHEL DONADIO and EAMON QUINN
EXCERPTS:

Bishop Magee’s was the first resignation since the pope last weekend released a long-awaited letter to Irish Catholics apologizing to victims of sexual abuse and expressing “shame and remorse.”

...two scathing Irish government reports released last year revealed decades of systematic sex abuse of hundreds of thousands of Irish children and a widespread cover-up of the problem.

Bishop Magee was best known as the personal secretary who was among the first to find the body of Pope John Paul I, who died after a month in office in 1978.





Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community: Liturgical Dance by Sheila Carey and Helen Duffy


LITURGICAL DANCE at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy
Sheila Carey and Helen Duffy performed this inspiring meditative dance at St. Andrew Church.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpgia1W5I1U

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bishops Accountability.Org Provide Statistics on Clergy Sex Abuse and Cover-Up in the Roman Catholic Church

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm#enabling_bishops

Some of their shocking findings are;

How many bishops have been accused of abuse of minors?

19 bishops in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse


Approximately two-thirds of sitting U.S. bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved accused priests to new assignments.

The best available study of bishops accused of enabling abuse is Two-Thirds of Bishops Let Accused Priests Work, by Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin (Dallas Morning News, June 12, 2002

During the meeting of the bishops in Dallas in 2002, I was president of the Federation of Christian Ministries and invited as a guest on CNN. I called for the resignation of all bishops who kept pedophile priests in ministry and/or covered up sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Of the 109 bishops identified in the Dallas Morning News survey,
only 39 bishops (36%) are still managing the same diocese. Of the others:
11 have resigned,
41 have retired,
15 were promoted, and
3 died in office.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Response to Sex Abuse Crisis in the Roman Catholic Church - Women Priests, Married Priests, End Mandatory Celibacy

For Immediate Release:

Janice Sevre-Duszynska: 859-684-4247

Bridget Mary Meehan 703-505-0004, 941-955-2313

See: www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org

www.bridgetmarys.blogspot.com


Roman Catholic Womenpriests Response to Sex Abuse Crisis in the Roman Catholic Church: Women Priests, Married Priests, End Mandatory Celibacy

Roman Catholic Womenpriests stand in solidarity with victims of clergy sex abuse throughout Europe and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy. The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the Pope and the Vatican. In the U.S. the sex abuse scandal has destroyed the lives of victims and their families, bankrupted some dioceses and cost the Church over two billion dollars.

The Vatican's record on child abuse was criticized at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on March 16, 2010.

Pope Benedict, the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, has been linked to the case of a German priest convicted of molesting children but allowed to continue to minister in Ratzinger’s archdiocese for more than 30 years until his recent suspension. Later, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. The cases were handled under a strict code of pontifical secrecy. The Vatican has handled more than 3,000 cases, according to its own report. Since Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is implicated in the handling of the cases, civil authorities should investigate the alleged cover-up to assure that transparency and justice is achieved.

Roman Catholic Womepriests call on the all-male leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those in the Vatican, to admit their failures, including the abuse of power at the center of this crisis. Standards of accountability must be the norm for all, including the pope and hierarchy. We call for an independent truth commission made up of a broad representation of people of integrity, including victims of abuse and the non-ordained, to examine this global sexual abuse crisis and to chart a path forward to structural change - a change which would include women priests and married priests with an end to mandatory celibacy. Now more than ever our Church needs the wisdom and experience of women to re-birth a renewed community of equals empowered by the Spirit. Roman Catholic Womenpriests offer a collaborative model of an inclusive Church rooted in partnership with the people we serve, with no one excluded.


http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm#enabling_bishops

Monday, March 22, 2010

Training God's Rottweiler: Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Must End


http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/2371/_training_god’s_rottweiler:_catholic_church_sexual_abuse_must_end

Training God’s Rottweiler: Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Must End
By Anthea Butler
March 22, 2010

"Back in 2002, the Boston Globe first embarked on its Pulitzer Prize-winning series that would shock Catholics in America and around the world. The sexual abuse scandal the Globe uncovered in the Boston Archdiocese, which sparked similar exposes around the country, would rock the American Catholic Church, bankrupt dioceses, and even resulted in the murder of a notorious pedophile priest. The reporting shined a bright light on travesties the Vatican wanted kept in the dark: suicides, abuse, and shattered lives of children and adults who suffered the abuse — the product of malfeasance at all levels of the Church hierarchy, which tried to blame it on “America,” "homosexuality” and “a few bad priests.”
The story is repeating itself, with a vengeance. Its stench now reaches all the way to the seat of Peter in Vatican City, and the late Pope John Paul II's "Rottweiler," Pope Benedict XVI.The biggest don't-ask-don't-tell outfit in the world..."

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Article on Bishop Olivia Doko

Bishop for Roman Catholic Womenpriests wants official ordination
By Julia Hickey

"Sixty-seven-year-old Merlene Olivia Doko admits she probably won’t see women officially ordained as Roman Catholic priests in her lifetime.
But that hasn’t stopped the longtime Pismo Beach resident from becoming a leader in a rapidly growing movement to achieve it. "

Read more:
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/03/21/1075623/bishop-roman-catholic-womenpriests.html#ixzz0ivFuk0ln

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Arrogant, Corrupt, Secretive-the Catholic Church Failed to tackle Evil" Article in the Guardian by Fintan O'Toole

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/21/pope-benedict-xvi-catholicism

"Arrogant, corrupt, secretive – the Catholic church failed to tackle evil"
The Catholic church is finally losing its rearguard action

by Fintan O'Toole

"Both in Ireland and worldwide, the institution's all-male leadership refuses to face the fact that its own existence is at the heart of the problem. A closed system of authority in which democracy is a dirty word, secrecy is a virtue and unaccountable individuals combine spiritual prestige and temporal power is a breeding ground for abuse and cover-up..."

Fintan O'Toole provides us with an excellent analysis. His argument demostrates once again that absolute power corrupts absolutlely.
The worst failure of the Vatican, including Pope Benedict, is the failure to address the church's abuse of spiritual power. The global sex abuse crisis would make Jesus weep.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Photos and Link to Picassa Album of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community/Sarasota, Florida









Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community meets at St. Andrew UCC Church in Sarasota, Florida.
For more information, emal Bridget Mary Meehan at sofiabmm@aol.com

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests Head to Europe to Help Victims

http://reform-network.net/?p=3160
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
US clergy sex abuse victims head to Europe
Catholic scandal there is spreading across the continent
Hundreds of victims are coming forward in six countries
SNAP wants state probe of child sex crimes & cover ups in dioceses
Chicago woman to start confidential support group for German victims
Two US women who head the world’s largest & most highly visible support group for clergy sex abuse victims are going to Europe today to offer help to adults who were sexually assaulted by Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops.
Two US men who were molested as kids by priests are leaving for Europe soon.
All four are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (
SNAPnetwork.org). The women are flying to Munich Germany today to start a chapter of their self-help organization in that country and hold a news conference Monday at 2:00 p.m. They will also visit at least two or three countries on the continent.

O God, Heart of our Hearts, Love us, Heal us, Enliven us




O God, Heart of our hearts


In whom all beings dwell


Journey with us to the depths of our souls

There to be loved and to love


There to be liberated and to liberate


There to be healed and to heal


There to be enlivened and to rejoice.

For your Spirit dwells in the Heart of our Hearts today and forever.
Amen

(Bridget Mary Meehan, wrote Affirmations from the Heart of God, a book of prayer- affirmations for spiritual nourishment.)